It came up because the Dodgers were playing in a game to benefit the Christina-Taylor Green Memorial Foundation, named after the nine year-old victim — and daughter of Dodgers scout John Green — of the Tucson shooting which involved Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. And after expressing some hesitance to get into the matter, Don Mattingly did offer his opinion to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times:
“Politics now?” Mattingly asked. “I don’t know if I really want to get into it. I’m just not a gun guy. I never hunted as a kid. So I’m not much for the topic. I know we have coaches who love them; they think it’d be crazy if they weren’t allowed to have them … I don’t see any need for assault rifles,” he said. “It doesn’t make any sense for me for a guy to have an assault rifle in his house. If you ask me my personal opinion, I would definitely be against assault rifles, any kind of weapons that you’re able to fire off that many rounds at one time. It doesn’t make any sense. In the military, maybe.”
If I had to guess I’d say that baseball players, as a group, are far less likely to hold this view than the general public simply because there are so many hunters among their ranks. So, yes, this is a bit surprising, even if it is sorta beside the point.